This study examines the impact of the American Civil War on Union women by focusing on Mary Ashton Rice Livermore and her associates in wartime aid societies in Chicago, Illinois. It argues that Livermore's postwar lecture career epitomizes the new confidence that many benevolent women possessed after the Civil War. From contemporary newspaper accounts and letters it demonstrates that the conflagration broadened the scope of their activity, allowing many to hone their skills and expand their influence while remaining safely inside society's accepted gender standards. concluding that the war changed moderate white middle-class women's lives, it then illustrates that some modifications proved permanent for many throughout the ensuing decade. This work draws from published sources, including Livermore's autobiography and her account of the war, and manuscript collections containing correspondence, dated between 1850 and 1905, among advocates of women's rights and their acquaintances.
Crepeau, Richard C.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
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Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Engle, Nancy Arlene Driscol, "We can't be the women we were before: Mary Livermore and Chicago women in the American Civil War" (1996). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 2913.